I used to hear people say things about “hitting their macros” and remember having no idea what they were talking about. “So, is this Macros a friend of yours, or…?”
After a year in my program I’m feeling a bit more in the loop about the whole macro thing so I thought I’d share a bit of information for those who are still hanging out in my old boat.
Basically, we separate nutrients into two categories: the macronutrients and micronutrients. As the prefixes imply, micronutrients are the ones that we eat in much smaller quantities like vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The macronutrients, on the other hand, are the base of everything we eat and so we consume many grams of each of them daily. The three little superstars in question are fat, protein and carbohydrates.
The recommendations for how much we should get of each macro are typically expressed in terms of how much each one is contributing to a person’s total calories. Health Canada suggests sticking within these ranges:
Fat: 20% – 35%
Protein: 10% – 35%
Carbohydrates: 45% – 65%
The cool part about these recommendations is that regardless of whether a person is eating 1500 calories a day or 4000, the ranges stay the same. So while an athlete might require more protein than someone who is sedentary, there’s a good chance that the athlete has a revving appetite and is intaking more calories and naturally getting more protein. But at the end of the day, they could both be getting the same percentage of their calories from protein.
After taking pictures of my food one day this week, I was pretty curious about where I would fall within the ranges. More on that below!
oatmeal pancakes // chocolate Sunbutter // banana // coconut // chia seeds + skim milk
This breakfast may look deluxe but it actually took 2 minutes! I toasted two pancakes from the depths of my freezer, melted some 85% chocolate into Sunbutter while they were heating and then chopped some banana on top of it all. Chocolate in the morning… don’t mind if I do.
I got hungry before lunch and 2 kiwis did the trick.
brown jasmine // veg // hummus // avocado // lemon
This bowl was thrown together in a rush before work but I will definitely be repeating it! I mixed all of this together at lunchtime and the result was creamy but crunchy and really tasty.
crackers and Oka cheese // apple with cinnamon
The apple and cheese combo is such a childhood memory for me but one that I still love. Oka is Quebec-made and it has a really distinct (and really good) flavour.
My wonderful friend Chloe came home for less than 24 hours so dinner out was in order! My mom joined us because she is our third bestie and also because there is just never a time when you don’t want my mom around.
greens // grilled vegetables // goat cheese croquette // balsamic vinaigrette
Chloe and I always share at restaurants. To me, trying two menu items > Trying one menu item.
grilled veg fajitas with all the fixings
It was a gorgeous night and we watched the sun set from the rooftop patio. Good company, good food and good view = one very happy girl.
dark chocolate almond bark
At the end of the day I inputted all my food into eaTracker, which is a free resource by Dietitians of Canada. You make an account and input a day’s worth of eats into it, and it shoots back a whole bunch of info about how many calories, macros, vitamins, minerals, etc. you’re getting compared to what you should be aiming for.
By no means do I keep track of my macros daily but I think I have reached a point that it’s almost subconscious for me to try to include all three in each of my meals. I was really happy to see that with just that little bit of effort, I fell within the recommended ranges for all three. On this particular day I was on the low end for protein and on the high end for fat, which I probably could have guessed based on looking at my meals.
I think the take-home message is that being mindful of having a balanced diet goes a long way and that we don’t need to give ourselves headaches scrutinizing the numbers. Of course a bodybuilder who is bulking or cutting may want to get a bit more technical, but I think most of us can just do our best to eat a varied diet and numbers work themselves out.
I hope you eat some yummy food today!